So because it was nice and sunny outside today, and because there was a ton of snow everywhere, and because Murphy was having a ball in the snow--and because he'd been really good at coming when called at the dog park--and because I felt guilty for penning him up so long yesterday, and because I was tired...
You get the idea. I'm laying out an excuse field a mile wide here. That's generally an admission that I did something which, upon reflection, was stupid.
While talking to an neighbor (the cat neighbor) down on the road this afternoon, I left Murphy off his leash to see if he was as obedient as I thought that he might be.
Actually he started out great. I unclipped his leash and put it in my pocket. he sat down on the street and just looked at me, trying to figure out what was going on. I told him that he was free now. Free dog. Have fun. I mean, he's surrounded by chest-deep snow. Where's he really going to go?
For the first minute, it was great. He bounded around me, capering in the snow. I tossed snowballs at him and he caught them in his mouth. The it hit him--the leash really was off. He spun around and ran a hundred yards up the road as fast as he could, then he stopped and turned to see what I'd do.
I called him once. He just stood there. So I yelled "Bye!" and walked back up my driveway. As expected, he ran back to the foot of my driveway to see where I was going. I got to my door and called him again, and he came towards me. Perhaps this might end well after all, I thought.
But then he saw one of my neighbor's several dozen damned feral cats. Off he bounded into the snow-filled woods, to chase it around the house. I tried to call him back a few times, but 'twas no use. He was having fun and not inclined to come back at the moment.
Ah, well. Like I said--chest-deep snow. He'll tire of that pretty quick. So I just resumed clearing my driveway and listened to the jingle of his collar tags which told me that he was either in my yard or the cat neighbor's. The cat neighbor really doesn't mind so long as he thinks that Murphy won't actually get his cats. I heard him calling Murphy a few times, trying to coax him over for a petting. But Murphy wasn't having any of that, either. The snow and the cats were much more fun.
Then I heard my neighbor yell. "Hey! Your dog is on my roof!"
Huh? I looked over, and sure enough, there was Audie Murphy Dog, standing atop my neighbor's attached car port, looking out over the snow-covered world as if it was all his. If dogs could talk, I have no doubt that he'd have been shouting: "Made it, Ma! Top of the World!"
Tracks in the snow indicate that Murphy was chasing one of the cats around the neighbor's house. The cat ran up a wood pile next to the car port and bolted across the roof. Now these cats had been running away from Lagniappe like that for years and he'd always stopped there. But Murphy, being a different dog, went straight up that woodpile behind the cat--right up onto and across the roof--stopping only when the cat jumped from the other side into a nearby tree. Murphy stopped at that point, then just walked back to the peak of the roof to look down on my neighbor and all of his other subjects below. He was still there when I got over there.
I coaxed him down with his red tug toy and got him re-leashed. He was panting hard from his workout and had that same glint in his eye that I've seen in both my past Shepherds--the one that says: "Do what you have to to punish me...it was worth it!"
My only regret is that I didn't have my camera with me at the time. But I did have it when I took these.
What? I'm not doing anything!
Enemy sighted! Cat! 180 degrees at 25 yards!